‘Healthified’ NYC Restaurant Blasted for ‘Icky’ Lo Mein Post
A newly-opened New York restaurant has sparked controversy for using what some are calling racist language. Lucky Lee’s in Greenwich Village was only open for one day before it went viral on Instagram for a now-deleted post saying that traditional lo mein makes people feel “bloated and icky.”
The restaurant serves what they call “healthified” Chinese food in a casual environment.
Nutritionist Arielle Haspel is the creator of Lucky Lee’s. She reportedly told Eater that she created the restaurant for “people who love to eat Chinese food and love the benefit that it will actually make them feel good” with “clean” Chinese-American recipes.
Haspel received backlash on her Instagram account @bewellwitharielle for her statements, with one user commenting, “This is terrible. Why do you feel the need to grossly appropriate another culture while simultaneously calling it ‘unclean’ and ‘unhealthy’?”
According to an Instagram caption from the Lucky Lee’s Instagram account, the restaurant serves food “made with less oil, non-GMO oil and no wheat, gluten, peanuts or refined sugar because we care about how you feel and want you to feel great.”
One person commented that the caption “comes off as saying Authentic Chinese restaurants do not. That’s hella rude.”
In an Instagram post from April 6, 2019, Haspel writes, “May this restaurant give you that crispy, sweet & yummy food that you crave, in a vibrant atmosphere that makes you feel uplifted, with ingredients that make you feel great.”
The restaurant has received an abundance of negative comments on its Yelp page as well. One user writes: “This is cultural appropriation and disrespect of Chinese cuisine. Support your local Chinese restaurant owners.”
Another person agreed, saying, “This restaurant uses racist tropes to position itself as better than a traditionally Chinese-owned restaurant for no good reason. The owner camps out on awful stereotypes, perhaps due to insecurity or inferior product.”
Most recently, Haspel has posted on her Instagram account in an apparent response to the comments that she stands “grounded in my forever intention of helping people eat well, live well, and be well.”
Haspel declined to comment over the phone. She has not yet responded to a written request for comment from NBC New York.